HIV CD4 count machines shortage looming
Zimbabwean doctors here have been forced to use the observation method to determine suitable anti-retrovirals (ARVs) for HIV/AIDS patients due to a critical shortage of CD4 counting machines in the country.
CD4 count machines are mainly used to determine the amount of the HIV virus in the body so that the correct ARV treatment may be recommended. But many Zimbabweans appear to have been missing out on treatment due to the shortage of the machines.
"Due to the unavailability of CD4 count machines in most rural health centers, where there are many people who tested positive some years ago, we found it prudent for experienced doctors to use the traditional observation method to determine those deserving to be on ARVs, " said National Aids Council Mashonaland Provincial co-coordinator Wilfred Dube.
"There are many people, some of whom tested positive some years ago, who are not on ARVs waiting for CD4 count testing. We resolved that they can not wait any more hence our recommendation for the observation method by doctors who have put a number of such people on ARVs."
"We are striving to give all services, that is starting from HIV testing, counselling and treatment at every health centre, mostly in rural areas, so that people do not have to travel to district hospitals to get these essential services and we are moving fast in that direction."
Meanwhile patients at Kunaka Hospital in Seke have resorted to fetching water from un-protected sources due to lack of water at the hospital as its only water pump broke down five years ago.
An offcial with the Manyame Rural District, confirmed: "This is an unfortunate and a health hazard development which has been neglected for years which we think needs urgent attention.”
A health worker in the area, Maxton Mudzviti, described the situation as dangerous, saying the patients were being exposed to waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera.